Written by: BW on 16/03/2014 22:54:18

I’m no stranger to artists who speak in a language I don’t have any knowledge of. Like most, Rammstein has been in my music collection for a long time and I can speak very little German, but a change was needed. I’ve decided to have a go at Norwegian, with the band Skambankt and their album “Sirene” to see if liking a foreign language metal band was a one trick pony or if it can indeed prove that the spoken word isn’t a barrier when it comes to enjoying the art of good music.

Listening to the first track, “Anonyme Hatere” (Anonymous Haters) gives me a feeling of modern punk mixed with grunge, which is right up my alley. The chords are suitably minor and the keyboard is subtle enough to not overpower the major ingredients. Two toned vocals help bring things to life a bit. I have to admire the choice of chords though, as it lets the ears lap up what is there and I have to say as a song it is pretty catchy.

“Som en Sirene” (As a Siren) has one of the more interesting intros I’ve heard in a while, as well as a stand out singing style. It’s almost like they’ve added a touch of Muse into the mix resulting in another catchy number. I think the best thing to take heed of from this album from the first two tracks alone is that the music itself is a very powerful tool in all of this. The wailing guitars and synth usage is never too much and just adding subtle hints here and there is a big addition in the long run.

The album seems to continue on this fresh run of form. “Voodoo” is extremely good, with a Kasabian vibe through it, although I have to say finding a translation of the lyrics on their official website has helped for the most part. Something that had me laughing was near the end of the song when, apparently, one of the lines translates as “People are slaughtered because of trifles” which had me buckled for about five minutes straight. Reading the rest of it though makes perfect sense, but I just can’t imagine someone being decapitated because of some custard and a jam bottom.

“Skam Blod” (Shame Blood) is another good song that has a bit more anger about it than some of the others on the record and holds together very well. It is my pick off the album because it has an almost anthem like quality and is a good concert track to get the crowd into it. If I’m honest the rest of this record is the same in that the music is grade A and has a quirky side to it that most don’t like to embrace, whereas Skambankt seem to have done just that and you can tell they like it too.

“Gamle Spokeser” (Old Ghosts) is the dark and slower track of them all and has a feel all of its own, hiding the drums away, quietly allowing a bass beat here and there and letting it come to life in the chorus. It really conveys the feeling of a haunted track to match the name. “Vare Folk” (Our People) has an almost thrash metal pace to it mixed with a Motorhead infused Lemmy vocal attack and presents itself to us in a song that stands out from the other tracks due to the more major stance and faster tempo. It is the most typical of metal songs from the album, but it is still a good toe tapper.

If I personally had to pick any weak songs out of all of this then it would be “Sanne Som Deg” (People Like You) and “Nemesis” as they just don’t seem to have that same hook the rest have and I don’t feel as captivated with them as the other songs off “Sirene”. Even “Ulv, Ulv” (Wolf, Wolf) has an enjoyable quality with some nice double chord hits separating the almost Rob Zombie styled chorus work. It’s like there are some good bits from other performers done in such a way that you feel there’s a new lease of life in them, and that is good.

What we have with “Sirene” is a really good mix of music and a great album in its own right, regardless of whether I know what’s being said or not. I have to add though, looking at the lyrics on their website makes me realise that the words are very carefully chosen and there’s a lot of good writing in amongst it all. I can now happily say there are two bands who sing songs that even though they aren’t in my own native tongue, I can sit back and enjoy the quality being performed for me and my audio receptors. I’d love for there to be English versions of the songs performed, but I may be wishing for too much. Either way it’s a great album to listen to and is well worth a look.


Download: Som en Sirene, Kald Kald Natt, Gamle Spokeser, Voodoo
For The Fans Of: Oslo Ess, Uncle Deadly, Raga Rockers, Ingenting

Release date 27.01.2014
Sony DK

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